Photo: Blueshirt Banter
The Tampa Bay Lightning announced on Monday morning that they have signed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year contract worth $1.75 million. The 30-year old became an unrestricted free agent on July 31 after the New York Rangers bought out the final two years of his four-year contract, which carried a cap hit of $6.65 million per season.
Welcome to Tampa, @shattdeuces!
We have signed Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year contract worth $1.75 million. ⚡️
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) August 5, 2019
Shattenkirk was the most highly coveted unrestricted free agent in 2017 but injury and defensive deficiencies plagued his time on broadway. He turned down more lucrative offers from other teams when free agency hit to sign with his hometown team.
The St. Louis Blues were reportedly about to ship him to the Lightning before the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline but Shattenkirk turned down a seven-year, $42 million ($6 million AAV) contract offer from the Lightning that would have to go through in order for the trade to be executed.
Shattenkirk says he was shocked about being bought out by Rangers: "I was pretty pissed off about it."
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 5, 2019
Shattenkirk was traded to the Washington Capitals along with goaltender Pheonix Copley on February 27, 2017, in exchange for forwards Brad Malone and Zach Sanford, a first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and conditional picks which were not sent to St. Louis since the Capitals did not re-sign Shattenkirk or advance past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that season.
He tallied two goals, 14 points, and a +2 rating in 19 regular-season games and one goal, six points, and a -4 rating in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games to finish off the 2016-17 season with the Capitals. Former Capitals head coach Barry Trotz told the media that he and the team projected Shattenkirk to be a top-four defenseman for them “but he wasn’t that at all. He was a little lower.,” before his return to Washington during the 2017-18 season.
The Capitals and the Blues each won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history within three seasons of Shattenkirk’s departure from each squad.
Things did not go so well with his hometown team as Shattenkirk was limited to 46 games in his debut season on Broadway due to a knee injury. He also missed eight games due to a separated shoulder and was a healthy scratch for a game last season.
The Rangers brought Shattenkirk in to help their power-play but he never passed the five-goal or 30-point marks in either of his two seasons there. He also posted -14 and -15 ratings, respectively, in the past two seasons with New York. The Rangers were in the middle of the pack on the power-play, placing 14th and 17th, respectively, in the two seasons Shattenkirk was there.
Shattenkirk posted two goals, a career-low 28 points, and a -15 rating in 73 games last season.
After trading for top-pair defenseman Jacob Trouba and signing superstar forward Artemi Panarin this offseason, the Rangers found themselves over the salary cap. They were going to buy out either Shattenkirk or defenseman Brendan Smith but it was Shattenkirk who ultimately got the ax. The Rangers currently have $1,483,333 left in cap space to re-sign restricted free agent forward Brendan Lemieux and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.
The Rangers will pay Shattenkirk $1,483,333 this season, $6,083,333 next, and $1,433,333 in each of the next two before his contract comes off of their salary cap.
The Lightning, who tied an NHL-record 62 wins last season, bolster their defensive depth with the addition of Shattenkirk and now have a top-six group consisting of him, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, and Braydon Coburn. He will likely play on the second or third defensive pair. The Lightning tied the Carolina Hurricanes for seventh in the NHL with an average of 2.70 goals-against per game last season.
Shattenkirk will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2020, and can sign an extension with the Lightning at any point beyond January 1.
By Harrison Brown